Viola Liuzzo Papers

Accession Number: 
UP001745
Extent: 
14 linear feet (14 SB)
Date: 
1953-1998, bulk 1965-1983

On March 25, 1965, Viola Liuzzo, a Wayne State University student and mother, was shot and killed by members of the Ku Klux Klan after participating in civil rights protests in Alabama. The impact of Liuzzo’s death was felt across the country. Despite a FBI informant's eyewitness testimony at the trial of the three Klansmen, none of the men were found guilty of murder. Liuzzo's family, as well as two civil rights workers involved in the 1965 protest, would later file unsuccessful suits against the U.S. government based on this FBI informant's involvement in the incident. Speculation about the exact nature and circumstances of Liuzzo’s murder continues.

The Viola Liuzzo Papers contain documentation of the events surrounding the murder of Liuzzo, the resulting investigation, and later litigation on behalf of the Liuzzo Family. They include FBI murder investigation files, legal precedents to the 1980s lawsuit, related legal motions and proceedings, correspondence, and depositions from FBI handlers, expert witnesses, and eyewitnesses. The collection also contains the fulfilled Freedom of Information and Privacy Act (FOIPA) requests for the FBI's involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, FBI policy, information about the Liuzzo family, and a portion of documents related to the Freedom Riders.

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UP001745_.pdfUP001745_guide.pdf139.27 KB